Well, you do! Jackie Chiesa of William Ashley explains why.
Having done the wedding thing, I know what it’s like to wonder if this grand affair is really worth the expenditure. But I also know that, on the day, when people start arriving from near and far, you’re just happy they showed up. In fact, I only remember the LOVE. Everyone loves you on your wedding day! In the thick of planning, you might think you’d prefer monetary gifts to presents, but the reality is there are guests who will want to give physical gifts. The very least you can do is make it easy on them.
Like many Toronto brides, I made the pilgrimage to William Ashley to build my wedding registry. It was overwhelming, and after hours of searching I chose a lovely dinner service, but I’ll be honest, I traded my tableware in to buy a set of All-Clad pots from the store. I love my pots and I might not have bought them if not for the registry. Don’t worry, I do have a dinner service. Around the time of my engagement I inherited a family friend’s vintage set. It was very 70s, very loud, and very “us.” And we we use it!
So with wedding season in the mix, and a grand reopening for William Ashley in the newly restored Colonnade on Bloor Street West, we turned to company president Jackie Chiesa for her registry tips and how to choose the perfect tableware.
Isn’t tableware a bit old fashioned?
JC: You’re probably imagining your grandmother’s service on display in a cabinet. But, the fact is, we still entertain, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, special holiday occasion or daily meals with your friends and family around the kitchen table; and unless you are using paper plates, you are going to want a set of china. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it could simply be a white dinnerware set. Whatever you choose – from something more traditional to ultra-modern – like everything else in your home, it will be a reflection of you.
What if I don’t want to do a bridal registry at all?
JC: You should consider that many of your guests are used to a registry service, and we receive a lot of calls asking if couples are registered even though they may not be. The registry, of course, allows your guests to select a gift they know you’ll want because you personally selected it! Having a registry also greatly reduces the number of duplicates – I mean, how many cheese trays do you really need? Furthermore, many guests prefer presenting you with an actual gift. Having a registry is helpful for your guests, especially if they don’t know your taste.
The fact is, we still entertain, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, special holiday occasion or daily meals with your friends and family.
What if the place setting I like is very expensive?
JC: That’s no problem at all. Firstly, always choose from the largest selection of dinnerware patterns available and you want to see them in person, so that you can see the quality and thickness of the pattern, colours are also often distorted online. When you have a knowledgeable consultant, they can often present alternative patterns which achieve a similar look in a more suitable price range for you. You can also mix two patterns and only use some items from the more expensive set to accent a lower priced set.
If I’m buying off the registry. Do I have to buy an entire place setting?
JC: Actually, most guests prefer to purchase place settings over the individual components of the set (quite often there are savings to purchasing a place setting). However, you do have the option to purchase the individual pieces of a place setting when selecting quality brands. In general, couples not only ask for place settings, but normally also ask for serving pieces that compliment their set, giving you additional options and price points.
I have this vision of my mother doing a million dishes after a party.
JC: The great thing about technology is that it is always evolving to make our lives easier, and this industry is no different. China, crystal and flatware manufacturers have made their products dishwasher safe. Of course, there are always precautions to take, but you can enjoy the thought of entertaining without the thought of washing up after 12 people.
Does a bridal registry automatically mean tableware?
JC: No, it does not. A registry is about what you wish for. You may have already lived together and collected a dinnerware set or even your own set that has been in your family for some time. For instance, you can register for a new flatware set, crystal glasses or accent pieces to compliment what you have. Or you simply want to only register for gourmet items in our kitchen department (who can’t use a good quality knife set or a coffee machine?) or some home decor items, such as a vase, candlesticks, trays, decorative items and picture frames to commemorate the special moments in your life.
Are there any things that couples say, “I’m so glad I got this!”?
JC: Yes! Depending on the couple and their lifestyle, the item can vary. Quite popular are items from our gourmet department, such as Dualit toasters, Le Creuset ‘French Oven’ roaster or a unique statement piece that the couple would have otherwise never received such as a Michael Aram center piece or the iconic Alessi Graves kettle. Other couples have told me that they are glad that they registered and received their dinnerware set, as this is something they would have never purchased for themselves.